Most women have a hard time dealing with their periods. This is because menstruation may be accompanied by menstrual cramps, which, depending on their severity, can make “that time of the month” exceedingly uncomfortable.
The good news is that there are many ways to handle period cramps. Natural remedies are fast gaining traction thanks to their merits. One such remedy is cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid obtained from marijuana or hemp believed to possess numerous beneficial properties.
Cannabis has been used by humans since time immemorial. However, the discovery of cannabinoids like CBD and THC (the most well-known) promises to take cannabis use to another level.
Let’s see how CBD may help with menstrual cramps.
What are PMS and menstrual pain?
PMS or premenstrual syndrome is characterized by a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms. It is caused by hormonal changes in a woman’s body during her menstrual cycle. A common symptom of PMS is menstrual cramps or pain.
These are throbbing cramps in the lower belly before or during your periods. These menstrual pains or cramps can range from mild to severe. Some girls experience them the first time they have their periods.
However, as they grow older, the period pains become less painful. Some girls are not as lucky and experience period pains throughout their menstruating lives.
The exact cause of PMS is not yet known, but several factors could contribute to the condition, including:
- Chemical brain changes: serotonin (a brain chemical transmitter) fluctuations, play a huge role in mood regulation and can trigger PMS. Also, insufficient serotonin in the body may trigger premenstrual depression, sleep problems, food cravings, and sometimes fatigue.
- Depression: Severe premenstrual syndrome might be a sign of undiagnosed depression. However, it is unclear if depression can cause premenstrual syndrome.
CBD for period cramps
Period cramps are quite uncomfortable and draining. Going by existing research findings, CBD may help reduce period cramps.
However, it’s advisable to combine CBD with alternative treatments like heat therapy, pain relievers, and light exercises for better results.
A 2019 study into the viability of CBD as an option for PMS management showed that CBD could help reduce period pains and other PMS symptoms.
The human body produces its own cannabinoids which bind to cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, to stimulate beneficial physiological processes. CBD is thought to stimulate the body to utilize more of its own cannabinoids to deal with various conditions like inflammation and pain.
THC has also been shown to have painkilling effects. However, its major drawback is that it’s mind-altering and creates a "high."
THC/CBD formulations have been shown to be more effective in dealing with pain; something researchers attribute to a phenomenon known as the entourage effect.
For this reason, taking CBD with THC may help you better deal with period cramps. Also, opting for full spectrum CBD may offer better results when other issues are involved.
Benefits of CBD for menstrual cramps
CBD might help to reduce inflammation, pain, and other symptoms like anxiety, nausea, and headaches that often accompany monthly periods.
The beauty of using CBD is that it generally doesn’t have psychoactive effects, unlike THC. Besides relieving period pains, CBD may help improve your sleep. Here are other benefits of using CBD for menstrual cramps.
Managing stress and anxiety – CBD has been shown to have anti-anxiety properties, which may help the body manage stress and anxiety. CBD inhibits the release of cortisol (the stress hormone) while slowing down the action of endocannabinoids that break down anandamide (the bliss molecule), thus helping you feel more relaxed during your menstrual days.
Fighting inflammation – CBD has anti-inflammatory properties that may relieve inflammation and menstrual cramps during that time of the month. CBD may also help with muscle relaxation given that menstrual cramps come about when the uterus’ smooth lining contracts.
As such, this cannabinoid may relax uterine muscles and provide relief during that time of the month.
Reducing breast and lower abdomen pain – CBD helps to regulate the vanilloid receptor (which influences the body’s pain perception). You can apply a CBD balm or CBD oil on your lower tummy or your breasts to promote much-needed pain relief from the cramps.
Preventing mood swings – there are hormonal imbalances during your period, and this imbalance is a major contributor to mood swings. Since CBD influences the activity of many mood regulators (e.g., serotonin and anandamide), it may help stabilize your hormones, thus recalibrating your emotions.
The benefits of CBD edibles
CBD can be consumed in several forms, with edibles being one of the most popular forms. CBD edibles are ideal for people who want to avoid the dangers associated with inhalation or smoking. Consuming CBD as edibles has more benefits as compared to inhaling.
Some of these benefits are:
Less risk of lung damage – vapor pens have been rising in popularity. Unfortunately, the long-term effects of inhaling hot oil have not been determined. Therefore, keep off the vapor pens and instead embrace edibles.
Studies suggest there’s a possibility the thinning agents in the vapor pens may produce toxic carcinogens once they are heated to over 436 degrees Fahrenheit. CBD edibles have no such additives, meaning you’ll be safe from toxic compounds.
They are easy to make – CBD edibles are quite easy to make from the comfort of your home. You can add CBD extract to your baked or cooked foods for the perfect antioxidant boost.
For example, you can make cookies with CBD oil. You only need to control the dosage so that you don’t end up using more CBD than recommended.
They have a longer-lasting effect – when CBD is consumed as edibles, it may take a while (30-90 minutes) before the effects kick in, depending on its strength. However, the effects tend to kick in faster via inhalation.
When CBD is taken via edibles, the active compound is released over a longer period of time as digestion takes place. The effects have been said to last 2-4 hours longer when ingested compared to when CBD is inhaled.
A longer-lasting effect means the user may get relief from menstrual cramps for longer.
CBD edibles are discreet – some CBD forms can be hard to conceal when consuming them but not with the edibles. You can consume your CBD-infused cookies during your snack break, and no one will be the wiser. The same is true when taking CBD gummies.
CBD edibles are easy to dose — When smoking a vape pen, it is hard to know the amount of CBD you’ve taken by the end of your vaping session. However, with CBD edibles, you can determine how much CBD you have consumed and how much you might need to consume to get the desired results.
How to use CBD for menstrual cramps
CBD for menstrual cramps can be consumed in several forms. The most common ones are:
CBD topicals – these are CBD gels or creams that may help with localized pain and discomfort. When rubbed on the skin, CBD interacts with the skin’s endocannabinoid receptors, thus producing its relaxing and anti-inflammatory effects and helping with period cramps.
CBD oil – You can take CBD oil in two ways. You can mix it with beverages like tea and coffee or infuse it into foods like cookies. Alternatively, you can also take them sublingually.
To take CBD oil sublingually, place the desired dose under your tongue using a dropper and wait for about 1 minute before swallowing. Typically, this method ensures fast results as the oil is absorbed straight into the bloodstream through the tiny blood vessels under the tongue. The CBD oil’s effects can be felt within 15-30 minutes after administration.
If you want the effects to last longer, you can take CBD oil with food or beverages. The CBD oil will be processed in the digestive system, taking anywhere between 40-90 minutes.
Edibles – CBD gummies can be classified as edibles. They are tasty and offer a discreet way of taking CBD. Gummies can have different compositions depending on your preferred CBD type.
- Full spectrum CBD: This CBD type contains all the naturally occurring cannabis phytochemicals such as terpenes, oils, and cannabinoids. Full spectrum CBD may have levels of THC (the “high”-inducing compound), especially if it is derived from marijuana.
- Broad spectrum CBD: This type of CBD is similar to full spectrum CBD, but it doesn’t contain THC.
- CBD isolate: This is the purest form of CBD.
Since there are many CBD products on the market, most of which are not FDA-approved, it is important to research thoroughly before buying any. For first-timers, it’s better to start with the lowest dosage and increase it gradually.
Depending on the severity of the pain, CBD dosage may vary from one person to the other. Some CBD vendors recommend 40 mg for severe pain. Alternatively, you can apply the “2.5 mg per kilo of body weight” rule to calculate the dose of CBD you need. This dose should be taken twice daily.
Capsules – another way to consume CBD for period cramps is through capsules. Capsules, like gummies, have lower bioavailability since some of their potency is lost in the liver. However, their effects last longer than CBD oil, with some reports stating durations of up to 10 hours.
Vaping – with vaping, the CBD is absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the lungs. This method delivers the most CBD into the body, and the effects can be felt 5 to 10 minutes after vaping. However, the effects also last the shortest time. A single CBD vape may last 3-4 hours.
CBD suppositories - some suppositories can be infused with CBD. These suppositories can be inserted the same way one inserts a tampon, or they can also be inserted rectally. They are often made with hemp oil, coconut butter, or oil. They have a soft consistency, and they melt into the body easily.
Most CBD suppositories incorporate 100 mg of broad or full broad-spectrum CBD, but potency may vary. You should, however, consult your gynecologist or doctor before using these CBD suppositories for menstrual cramps as they may cause vaginal irritation.
CBD gummies for menstrual cramps
CBD gummies for period pains are for people who want to try a novel approach to handle a recurrent problem. Like any other CBD edible, CBD gummies do not offer fast results, but the effects last longer.
For people who have menstrual cramps all day long, CBD gummies are the best option as they are easy on the palate. You can also take them regularly without any side effects.
Our CBD gummies come in multiple flavors, including berry, watermelon, orange, and passion fruit. They also have different sizes and doses, which means you have a variety to choose from depending on your menstrual needs.
Best CBD gummies for cramps
Our Premium CBD Gummies are your best bet if you want something that packs a punch. With 25mg of CBD per gummy, this product gives you a high CBD to gummy dose ratio, so you don’t have to chew a lot!
They're ideal for people whose menstrual cramps are severe and need long-lasting relief. What’s more, these gummies help you relax, calm your mind, and sleep better at night.
Our CBD + CBN Sleep Gummies take it a notch higher! Made with premium CBD and CBN, these gummies will help you get the best night’s sleep during that time of the month when menstrual cramps can make it hard to sleep.
The combination of CBD and CBN means you get even more cannabinoids into your system to make up for cannabinoid loss due to first-pass metabolism.Pop a gummy after every few hours depending on the intensity of your pain for relaxation and pain relief. Then pop a few more before bed for a good night’s sleep.
CBD is an emerging natural supplement with potentially immense health benefits. Its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties may come in handy to help with menstrual cramps.
As always, the key is to be consistent and patient since CBD reacts differently with different people. It may take some time before you reach your “sweet spot,” but don’t worry, patience pays!